The Amazon Echo line is the reigning world champion of smart speakers. Compared to virtual assistants such as Google and Siri, Alexa works with a much larger number of devices and responds to a much larger number of teams than competitors.
Also, Echo devices are fairly inexpensive, starting at $ 25 per Flex and $ 30 per Dot when you catch it on sale.
I bought six such echo shows for Christmas presents. They have a beautiful screen, so all children and grandchildren can come and greet my mother whenever they want. She will like it.
Maybe you̵7;re new to Alexa and all it can do, or you need new ideas to bring new life to your smart speaker. Here are 20 ways she can make your life easier – or just make you and your family laugh.
Let’s talk about security first
Never keep any smart device that hears your words in private places such as your bedroom or bathroom. If you work from home, keep it out of the office – or turn off the speaker during business hours. You don’t want anyone or anything to eavesdrop on sensitive information.
You also need to configure some privacy settings. With a few taps, you can instruct Alexa to delete your entries and automatically turn off voice purchases. Click or click here for all steps.
Now, for the interesting stuff!
1. “Alexa, call (contact)” or “Alexa, call (number)”.
Alexa recognizes names and phone numbers and can call you. For this to work, first register your contacts in the Alexa app. Open the application on your smartphone and follow these steps:
- Tap Communicate.
- Tap the icon contact icon.
- Select menu icon, and then Add a contact.
- Enter the name and phone number, then select Save.
Once your contacts are registered, ask Alexa to make a call for you.
Note: There are certain numbers that Alexa cannot call, including 911, toll-free, and international numbers outside the United States, Mexico, or Canada.
2. “Alexa, postpone my appointment at 8 am today at 13:00” or “Alexa, cancel my call at 10:00”.
Alexa can be your personal assistant if you sync your calendar. It can remind you of your upcoming appointments or even postpone, cancel or schedule one for you.
Here’s how to sync calendars with iCloud, Outlook, Google, and other services:
- Open Alexa and go to the settings menu.
- Select Settings.
- Select Calendar and email.
- Select the provider of your account and select Connect Account.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to synchronize your calendar. Repeat these steps for each calendar you want to add.
3. “Alexa, visit all devices.”
Remember those awkward old intercom systems in big houses? Alexa is the modern equivalent.
To use it, just say “Alexa, go to all devices” to get to each speaker that supports Alexa, or “Alexa, go to (device name)” to target only one. Then just wait for a ton of confirmation before speaking.
You can call the whole family for dinner, never leaving the kitchen. Easy!
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4. “Alex, remember …”
Alexa can remember specific dates and events for you. Say “Alex, remember …” and then whatever you want her to keep track of.
For example, “Alexa, remember, I made an appointment with the dentist at 1:00 on Tuesday” or “Alexa, remember, I hid the key in the kitchen cupboard.”
5. “Alexa, set the volume to (number from 1 to 10)”
Echo speakers have volume buttons at the top to adjust the volume, but you don’t need to get up and approach the speaker to change it. Just tell Alexa what volume level you want.
Try experimenting with different levels to see which one you like best. You can also ask Alexa to “set the volume to 11”, which increases the volume. This is a vile reference to a classic film.
6. “Alex, what is the extended forecast?”
This team will show you an extended forecast for the next seven days. I bet you will use it all the time.
7. “Alexa, tell me about the movie (title).”
Alexa is a great resource for little things and pop culture. Questions about specific films will give you a summary of the director, stars and plot of the film. It will even tell you the IMDb rating.
8. “Alex, who plays (the character) in (movie or show)?”
You can also ask Alexa to identify the actor in the movie you are watching. This may settle some heated debates. Be sure to name the character and the name of the show or movie.
9. “Alex, who sings this song?” or “When did this song come out?”
With this command, you can ask Alexa to identify the song currently playing through the speaker.
To activate this feature, say “Enable song ID”. You can also ask it to turn off this feature if you no longer want to use it by saying, “Turn off song ID.”
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10. “Alexa, convert (measure)” or “Alexa, calculate (math problem)”
Alexa is a great kitchen resource. It can convert measurements with a simple voice command. But outside the culinary world, Alexa can solve complex math problems in seconds.
11. “Alex, what wine goes well with (food)?”
After cooking dinner, it’s time to find the perfect wine to combine with it. Alexa can help. Just activate this wine pairing skill from the Alexa Skills Store and you’ll be on your way to a fine dinner at home.
12. “Alexa, play (radio station).”
Alexa can also play your favorite radio stations with voice commands. This is convenient when many of us do not go to work every day. You just need to make sure you know the name of the station you are requesting.
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13. “Alexa, Wikipedia (topic).”
If you like to settle disputes on the spot, this team is for you. Just ask Alex for “Wikipedia” on the topic you want to discuss, and she will read a preview of the whole article aloud.
Want more privacy? Click or click here to see how you can tell Alexa to delete what you are saying.
14. “Alex, spell (word).” or “Alexa, define (word).”
If you love spelling and grammar, this command is another great tool for settling arguments. Alexa pulls all this information out of Webster’s dictionary, so you don’t have to.
15. “Alex, tell me a joke.”
It’s old, but good. Alexa is not just useful – she is also funny. Most of her sound adventures are puns and dad’s jokes, but there are some that are really fun. Try this:
- “Alex, how much do you weigh?”
- “Alex, find Chuck Norris.”
- “Alex, do you know cupcakes?”
16. “Alex, give me quotes from (the movie).”
If you’re wondering how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” sounds in Alexi’s voice, you can ask her to give you a quote from “Terminator 2” – or any other movie about it. She never grows old when she hears her say, “Hasta la vista, baby.”
Looking for new skills? Click or click here to download 9 Alexa skills you like.
17. “Alexa, how many days before (date or holiday)?”
This is similar to Alexa’s computing power, but with more practical everyday use. Now that your children ask how far Christmas is, you can give them the right answer. Better yet, they can ask Alexa and leave you out of it.
18. “Alexa, throw a punch.”
And for future rappers there Alexa can create a synthesized melody. The bars are surprisingly attractive.
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19. “Alex, what does Pi mean?”
This is one of the most nervous things you can ask Alex, but she is more than up to the task. Alexa will read you the value of Pi to 100 digits, which is strange and a little scary to hear.
20. “Alex, what do you think of Siri?”
A little friendly rivalry has never hurt anyone, right? Ask Alexa what she thinks of Siri, and you’ll get a response you might not expect.
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